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Feminist party "could undermine government"

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It would have been hard not to notice that Tuesday was International Women's Day. No fewer than two new networks were launched by prominent politicians and the long-awaited rumours of Gudrun Schyman's feminist party have been officially announced as... rumours.

Dagens Industri reported that Schyman will launch her Feminist party in April. Schyman herself, who has two speaking appearances today, insists she will not present a Feminist party - yet.

Meanwhile, the Social Democratic party secretary Marita Ulvskog and former EU minister Margareta Winberg have announced their own feminist network, called Feministas.

"We women do not experience Sweden as an egalitarian, mature society. That's why we must fight for a feminist emphasis in politics," said Ulvskog and Winberg via Aftonbladet.

"We want to take back the official space. We want the same rights and have the same respect as men do in this society. If laws are necessary, well, then we demand them," they continued.

Feministas has launched its own web page today. They say they want to drive the debate on salaries, domestic violence, girls in schools and even health care issues.

"Even when we're sick we're not treated as women," they write on their web site.

But Feministas founder Marita Ulvskog does not believe in a Feminist party.

"That would be a disaster for women," she told Göteborgs-Posten. She said women would leave the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party in favor of a Feminist party.

"Then the Conservatives and Christian Democrats could simply take over politics and women's issues," she said.

Prime minister Göran Persson agreed. Speaking on a visit to Malmö, he said he saw it as a serious threat to the ruling socialist coalition.

"It would undermine the conditions for both the Greens and the Left party to have a place in parliament," he said.

"Then we would quickly find ourselves in a situation where we have a government which works directly against the objectives of a feminist party."

But it's not just the socialists who used International Women's Day as a springboard for a new network. Christian Democrat Maria Larsson has presented her own network, Kvinnobloggen.se, the 'women's blog'. She says it's an alternative to Feministas and Gudrun Schyman.

"Equality is not a Left issue," she said.

Indeed, if a page three special in Metro is anything to go by, there are left feminists, right feminists, media feminists, denim feminists and many more.

"What type of feminist are you?" asked the paper. Perhaps you're a "post-colonial feminist", trying to move away from the notion of feminism as a white, heterosexual, western movement and acknowledging that ethnicity, sexuality and age are just as important on the equality agenda.

If that all sounds a bit wishy-washy and you find yourself raging against sexist advertising and men's violence against women then you're probably a "radical feminist".

And if you happen to be of the view that men get a bit of a raw deal too, being discriminated against in, for example, the childcare sector, then you're an "equalist".

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Metro

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